My favorite news headline of the last few years came out this past week:
Three million malware-infected smart toothbrushes used in Swiss DDoS attacks
Now, depending where you read, there have been some retractions as to whether this actually occurred, but all signs point to ‘yes, it did.’
How? I’ll keep it simple. An object given ‘smart’ capabilities by a company that doesn’t really do tech is likely to not make sure their smart object is future proofed. They aren’t network security experts… they make toothbrushes. The idea of having a toothbrush that bluetooth spreadsheet internet something er another sounds like a great selling point when your bestseller is a molded piece of plastic and some bristles. So, programmers from five years ago built a program on platforms from five years ago with the security knowledge of five years ago… but five years went by and some security hole was found. Do you think your smart toothbrush is getting new firmware? Probably not.
And this headline is just the beginning. As we allow more and more pointless crap to connect to our wifi, we are adding more and more points of weakness to our home’s security. With a little knowhow it can be secured, but not everyone has a little knowhow.. all they know is they have a remote control ball they can bounce around their house from an app on their phone to fuck with their cat, or that their fridge texts them when the ice tray is frozen. They aren’t aware that their data can be piggybacked or a port can be left open or a password reset can be faked.
So please, look at this headline and laugh… because it’s truly f’n funny, but, please, for the love of dot, when your wifi smart toilet that posts a gif every time you shit using an AI algorithm so that the image relates to the consistency of your movement, just make sure you have a firewall configured.
What smart objects are taking over your household? Sound off in all the places.